PIKES PEAK RANGER DISTRICT TEMPORARILY CLOSED CRAGS AREA UNTIL HAZARD TREES ARE REMOVED
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 23, 2016…The Pikes Peak Ranger District of the Pike-San Isabel National Forest has temporarily closed the Crags area, including the Crags Campground and Forest Road 383, due to a large number of trees that pose a safety hazard to the public.
U.S. Forest Service personnel have discovered hazardous trees in areas frequently used by visitors for camping. A spruce beetle infestation several years ago has left many of the shallow rooted spruce trees standing dead along Forest Road 383. The closure will last several weeks until the hazard trees can be cut from the campground and parking areas.
This closure prohibits all public entry into the area including camping, day use, hiking, and access to the Crags and Devils Playground trails off of Forest Road 383 in Teller County.
Hazard tree removal and associated road closures are expected along FS Road 383 over the next few years. Initially, crews will work to improve safety near the campground and trailheads, but will continue working along the roadway later this fall and in future years.
Once U.S. Forest Service crews have finished cutting the hazard trees in the campground and at the trailheads, the road will re-open, however camping will be only allowed in the Crags Campground and parking will only be allowed at designated trailheads and within the campground. Dispersed camping and campfires along FS Road 383 will be prohibited due to safety concerns from the hazard trees once the road has been re-opened.
The Crags Area is a popular area for camping with the trailheads that lead to popular destinations such as the rocky outcropping of “The Crags” and the summit of Pikes Peak via the Devils Playground Trail.
Visitors are urged to take extra precautions when recreating in the area this summer due to the number of hazard trees in the vicinity.
For more information about the Crags area and closure, please contact the Pikes Peak Ranger District at (719) 636-1602. More information about alternate camping and recreation areas can also be found on Recreation.gov: www.recreation.gov or, the Pike-San Isabel National Forest public website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/psicc
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GOCO awards nearly $700,000 to El Paso County outdoor recreation projects
DENVER – The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded three grants totaling $699,413 Thursday to El Paso County communities. The City of Manitou Springs received $80,500 for the reconstruction of the public baby pool. El Paso County was awarded a $343,913 grant on behalf of the Ellicott School District to expand sports fields and a $275,000 grant for the county fairgrounds.
In Manitou, the existing pool for the city’s youngest swimmers is 44 years old, with unsafe and grossly inefficient structural issues. The pool, which is part of the larger community aquatic center, currently leaks beyond what yearly patching can fix. The pool was also designed with a hole built into one end that presents additional safety issues.
After having to turn away half of the families wanting to use the pool, GOCO funding will allow Manitou to accommodate up to 40 children. The larger pool also means new swimming classes for babies and preschool children. The GOCO grant will also build a kid-sized entry to the pool and update plumbing.
Manitou aims to have the project finished in fall 2016, aided by the local swim team that raised $1,000 for the new pool and will assist with minor construction and clean-up. Troop 18 of the Boy Scouts of America has also offered their support, including an Eagle Scout hopeful interested in the project.
In Ellicott, the school district partnered with El Paso County to receive funding for new sports fields. The current fields are at capacity, with football, baseball, and soccer all sharing fields. Expanding the athletic fields will impact the more than 1,000 students at the shared elementary, middle, and high school campus.
The school district site also serves as a community gathering place in this rural, unincorporated area of El Paso County. Many families of students come from nearby Schriever Air Force Base, and the school district serves a diverse, low-income population; 70 percent of students are on free and reduced lunch.
In addition to accommodating more student athletes, the new fields will also create the opportunity for outdoor science classes and will be used by Ellicott Metro District sports leagues. Sports fields at the school district site are the only public fields in the community.
Students will help with fundraising efforts for soccer nets and bleachers, with the school district hoping to have the project finished by September 2016.
In another rural El Paso community, the county fairgrounds will be getting a facelift to incorporate more outdoor recreation options. Located just south of Calhan, the fairgrounds support a variety of programming including El Paso County 4H, Calhan Schools, Eastern El Paso County Senior Services, and more.
Existing facilities at the fairgrounds are geared primarily toward agricultural and equestrian programming and the county fair, but the county intends to create a year-round hub for residents across the county. GOCO funding will construct an open-air pavilion, playground, splash pad, shade and landscaping, and picnic tables in addition to bringing electricity to the fairgrounds campground, fixing drainage issues on the dirt race track, and improving accessibility to the entrance.
The new pavilion will host events, including environmental educational programming, for up to 400 people, and the new playground and splash pad will be ADA-compliant. The county anticipates finishing the upgrades in September 2017 with the help of local boy scouts and 4-H members.
To date, GOCO has invested nearly $51 million in El Paso County has conserved more than 8,000 acres of land. GOCO funding has supported the reconstruction of the Manitou Incline, flood restoration at Harlan Wolf Park , and recovery from the Black Forest Fire. The Pikes Peak Region was also recently named a GOCO Inspire pilot community and will be part of a $25 million initiative to get kids outside.
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 4,700 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit goco.org for more information.
The city, working with privative land owners, plans to spray North Cheyenne Cañon Park, Blodgett Peak, Bear Creek Cañon Park, Seven Falls, some El Pomar lands, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and possibly the NORAD area in early June. The spray will target two types of moths: the tussock moth and the Western Spruce Budworm. The moths, which are native to the area, have reached epidemic levels. That's a problem, because the larval moths feed on certain spruce and fir trees, defoliating them. While a strong tree might be able to survive losing part of its foliage, or even all of its foliage, for a single year, repeat attacks sap the tree's strength and kill it.
The area will be sprayed with a bacteria commonly found in soil, foliage, wildlife, water, and air. It kills moths and butterflies if they feed on impacted plants while in their larval stage.
Tussock Moth Aerial Treatment Plan Public Open House
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Pikes Peak Region is currently experiencing a rather aggressive infestation of two species of defoliating moths in our forests; the Douglas-fir Tussock Moth and Western Spruce Budworm which is causing thousands of trees to become defoliated, or have the needles eaten down to the branch or twig. These trees are brown and “look dead", although many may not be. In order to protect our forests, the City of Colorado Springs' Forestry Division will be implementing an aerial treatment plan in early summer of 2016.
The public open house will take place on:
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
6 to 8 p.m.
Gold Camp Elementary
1805 Preserve Dr.
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Special thanks to our partners: El Paso County, Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado State Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Colorado State Parks.
For more information, please visit https://www.coloradosprings.gov/tussock.
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